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Day of action focuses on CT undocumented's healthcare needs; 7 jurors seated in first Trump criminal trial; ND looks to ease 'upskill' obstacles for former college students; Black Maternal Health Week ends, health disparities persist.

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Seven jury members were seated in Trump's hush money case. House Speaker Johnson could lose his job over Ukraine aid. And the SCOTUS heard oral arguments in a case that could undo charges for January 6th rioters.

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Fears grow that low-income folks living in USDA housing could be forced out, North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues, and small towns are eligible for grants to boost civic participation..

Report: MD children doing well overall, racial gaps persist

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Monday, January 22, 2024   

A new report looking at child well-being finds Maryland doing better than most, but racial disparities persist in the state.

The Baltimore-based Annie E. Casey Foundation's 2024 Race for Results report looked at 12 indicators of child well-being with broad categories including early childhood education and early work experiences, family resources and neighborhood contexts. The report found improvement nationally in six categories.

Nonso Umunna, Kids Count director at the Maryland Center on Economic Policy, said disparities persist between children of color and their white peers.

"The report shows that Maryland ranks among the top five states in the country in outcomes for white and Asian children, but our ranking drops to ninth for outcomes for Black children and 30th for outcomes for Latino children," Umunna outlined. "None of us should feel comfortable with the stark disparities that data indicate."

The report advocated for targeted programs designed to help families provide for children's futures including so-called "baby bonds," a government-managed, interest-accumulating trust account. California and Connecticut have both enacted baby bond programs in recent years.

The report also recommended states expand tax credits for low-income people and pointed to Maryland as a model. Last year Gov. Wes Moore signed a bill to expand the state's earned income tax credit and child tax credit.

At the federal level, the report calls on Congress to renew the pandemic-era expanded child tax credit which was a key part in lifting more than 2 million children out of poverty.

Leslie Boissiere, vice president of external affairs for the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said even a small improvement in finances makes a difference.

"One of the key recommendations is to once again expand the child tax credit," Boissiere explained. "In order to improve the economic well-being of kids and families. We know that a small amount of annual income as small as $3,000 a year can have a significant difference for low-income kids and families."

While Congress currently has a bipartisan framework for an expansion of the child tax credit, it is not as generous to low-income families as the pandemic-era expansion.

Disclosure: The Annie. E Casey Foundation contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Education, Juvenile Justice, and Welfare Reform. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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